Getting regular checkups is a good idea. Ken and I make a habit of it. Even though we’re extremely healthy, full of energy and feeling good, we go to the doctor for routine exams because it’s a wise thing to do. It helps us make sure that physically we’re staying on track.
Spiritually, we follow much the same protocol. Even when everything in our lives is going fine, we check up on our faith on a regular basis. We don’t wait until some major problem arises and then rush around trying to find our Bibles. We spend time in the Word daily, and routinely examine ourselves in light of it to make sure we’re walking by faith in every area of our lives.
It’s a practice I highly recommend. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s essential for every believer who wants to stay on track.
That’s not just my opinion. Second Corinthians 13:5 confirms it. It says to all of us: “Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it”
(The Amplified Bible).
Notice, according to that verse, it’s ourselves we must examine. We’re the ones who need to be checked up on, not God. We don’t have to evaluate Him to see if He’s getting things right, because He never misses it. If we’ve been asking Him for something and it seems like we’re not getting anywhere, or if we aren’t seeing His promises manifest in our lives, He isn’t the problem.
The problem is on our end.
“Well, I don’t know about that,” someone might say. “I think I’d be doing fine if the people in my church were just more supportive. They aren’t praying for me and standing with me like they should. So in my case, they’re the problem.”
No, they’re not. If they were, the Bible would tell you to examine their faith. But it doesn’t. It tells us to evaluate ourselves.
First John 5:4 says, “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” So when it comes to living in victory, our own faith—not someone else’s—is the issue. Other people can’t do our believing for us. Although at times we can and should help each other, ultimately our faith is our own responsibility. We’re the ones who must get it going and working the right way—and that requires us to expend some effort. It requires us to be attentive to the things of God, and to apply some diligence, discipline and determination.
The faith life is not for wimps. It’s not for lazy people who just want to do what’s easy on their flesh. Faith is for the strong of heart who will take the Word of God and act on it regardless of the circumstances. It’s for believers who will operate according to what Jesus taught in Mark 11:22-24 where He said to His disciples:
Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
Be Proactive: Have Faith in God
When it comes to living by faith, those verses are the big guns. Ken and I can testify to it! We’ve depended on and lived them for 48 years. Time and again, they’ve helped us do supernaturally what we could never have done on our own.
So, let’s take a quick faith checkup right now by reviewing what they say.
The first thing they tell us is to “have faith in God.” What, exactly, does that mean?
It’s believing what you see in the Word regardless of what’s happening in the natural realm. It’s believing, even when you have symptoms of sickness in your body, that by Jesus’ stripes “ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:24). It’s believing, even when your stack of bills looks bigger than your bank account, that “God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
How do we get that kind of faith? It’s simple. According to Romans 10:17, it comes “by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
You can believe God for anything you want that’s in accordance with His Word! It doesn’t matter how big it is or how impossible it might seem. “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26) and “all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23) so, with faith, you can have anything God has promised.
You won’t get it, however, by just sitting around waiting for it to fall on you like ripe cherries off a tree. You have to be proactive about it. You have to do your spiritual homework. If you want something, you must search the Word and find out what God says about it.
Personally, I like to put together lists of scriptural promises that pertain to all different aspects of my life. I have lists of verses about healing, for instance, and about family matters. I also have a list of prosperity promises. Those lists help me a lot.
If you haven’t already done so, I’d encourage you to put some together for yourself. That way, when you face a challenge, you’ll know right where to go. When the flu starts going around at the office, you can say, “Let me get out my list of healing scriptures,” and immediately shore up your faith.
Better yet, you can go over those lists all the time. You can stay strong and ready by feeding your spirit every day on God’s promises. If things aren’t moving along in some area like you think they should, you can double up on your intake of the Word in that area and get rid of any doubt that’s crept into your heart.
That’s what Ken and I have been doing ever since we first started hearing about faith. As a result, we’ve become absolutely addicted to the Word of God. We’ve learned from experience that whatever we might come up against, we can come through it in victory by standing on the Word.
Don’t Leave Your Prayer Place Without It
The next thing you want to examine during your faith checkup is what Jesus taught about receiving in Mark 11:24: “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” The word translated receive there literally means “take,” so that verse is telling us we’ll have what we take in prayer.
How do we take something when we pray? With the words of our mouth!
We say to the Lord, after we’ve made our request, “Thank You, Heavenly Father, for giving me what I asked. I believe I receive it. According to Your Word, it’s mine. I have it now, in Jesus’ Name.”
A lot of believers neglect to do this. They pray for what they desire, all right, but then they walk out of the place of prayer without it. Say, for instance, they need healing. Instead of saying, “I take my healing now, Lord. I thank You that I’m healed!” they say just the opposite. As soon as they finish praying, they call their cousin on the telephone and say, “I’m so sick I can hardly see straight! I just feel terrible.”
I know what you’re probably wondering. What am I supposed to say at times like that? If I pray for healing, and someone calls before it manifests and asks me how I’m doing, what am I supposed to tell them?
Just say something like, “I believe I received my healing.” You don’t have to start listing all the symptoms you’re experiencing. If the person persists in asking you about them, just start praising God and quoting the Word. Most likely, whomever you’re talking to will either praise God along with you or find a quick way to end the conversation.
“But Gloria, is what I say really that important?”
According to Jesus, it is! He said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34) and we shall have whatever we say (Mark 11:23). So, obviously our words are vital. They determine what happens in our lives.
Proverbs puts it this way:
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverbs 18:21)
“Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.” (Proverbs 6:2)
“Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.” (Proverbs 21:23)
The bottom line is, if you don’t want it, don’t say it. If you do want it, take it, talk it and don’t deviate. If you happen to get discouraged and mess up, then repent right away and get back on track. Keep believing and declaring God’s Word.
This is how you receive everything—healing, financial provision, divine protection and the rest of God’s BLESSINGS!
It’s even how you receive your children coming into the kingdom of God. You claim their salvation according to the promises in the Word (Isaiah 54:13, 59:21), then you thank the Lord for bringing them to Himself. You say, “Satan, you’re not getting my children. I break your power over them in Jesus’ Name.”
Although for a while you might not see any change in them, you just keep on saying, “I believe I receive. My children are coming into God’s kingdom. I have it and I’m not going to be moved by what they say or do to the contrary.” You continue to believe God and don’t waiver.
If your children are grown and off somewhere acting crazy, when you hear about it you just hold your ground. You say, “Satan, I bind you off my children. They’re not yours. They’re mine. I’ve committed them to God and His will shall be done in their lives.” Then you keep right on standing in faith until it comes to pass.
The Power Twins Always Win
“But what if that takes a long time? What should I do while I wait?”
Obey James 1:4 and Hebrews 6:12. “Let patience have her perfect work….[And] be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
Patience is a powerful force. It holds you up when you’re under pressure. It undergirds you so you don’t let go of your faith in times of trial. Even when you’re faced with contrary circumstances, patience doesn’t quit. It keeps you believing God’s Word and saying the right things.
Faith and patience working together are the power twins! So when you’re doing your faith checkup, it’s important to examine your patience, too.
To be frank about it, I wish that wasn’t necessary. I wish everything we prayed for and took by faith would happen instantly. That would be great. But it’s not generally what happens. Although some things we believe for might come quickly, other things will come more slowly.
This was even true in Jesus’ life. Read in Mark 11 about His encounter with the fig tree and you’ll see what I mean. When He cursed that tree by saying, “No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever” (verse 14), there was no immediate visible change in it. The tree looked just the same right after He spoke to it as it did before.
But Jesus didn’t let that bother Him. Instead, He exercised patience and kept believing what He said would come to pass. Sure enough, the next day when He and His disciples walked by the tree again, they saw that it had “dried up from the roots” (verse 20).
What if Jesus hadn’t exercised patience that day? What if He’d gotten discouraged because the fig tree didn’t keel over the moment He spoke to it? What if He’d said, “Well, I guess My words didn’t make any difference”?
What would have happened?
Nothing! If Jesus had pulled back on His faith, that fig tree would have just gone right on living.
The same principle holds true in our lives. If we don’t let patience have her perfect work; if we pull back on our faith and give up when we don’t see instant results, we’ll cut off our supernatural receiving. We’ll miss out on what we’ve been believing for.
If we’ll put God’s Word first place in our lives, however, and give ourselves regular faith checkups, just the opposite will happen. We’ll fight the good fight of faith by taking what God has promised us and hold onto it until it manifests in our lives.
Faith with patience always wins the fight. So stay on the winning side! No matter how long it takes, keep believing until the fig tree withers…or the symptoms leave your body…or money comes…or the situation changes. Keep saying with confidence, “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even my faith!”
*Article taken from September 2015 issue of BVOV Magazine. Read the PDF version here.